West Nile Virus Survivor Warns Others

Tuesday, October 3rd 2006, 10:35 am
By: News On 6

It's not too late in the year to get the West Nile virus. Since mosquitoes are still out - the chances of getting infected is still there.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says five people have died this year with confirmed cases of West Nile virus, but more may have died because it's rarely diagnosed. We talked with survivor who wants people to know it can sneak up on you.

Claremore resident Bob Coil can laugh about it now, but this past July, he nearly died of West Nile virus. "I just kept getting sick and nausea and couldn't eat and we were in the hospital for 16 days, and I've never been in the hospital more than 3 days."

Coil and his wife Lydia count it as a blessing that he survived, because most of West Nile's victims are older, he's 70. Coil says it started with nausea and exhaustion. “I'd come in from a job and need to sleep an hour and my wife said what's the matter and I said I don't know I'm just tired.”

His wife says it got worse quick - and she was scared he would die before he was diagnosed. "And the doctor said I don't have a clue what is wrong with him." Now two months later, Coil says he's got most of his strength back and his mind is clear again. He and his wife believe more people need to think about West Nile, when they have symptoms that might seem like something else. Lydia Coil: "And all the blood tests were normal, they said we don't know what this is, but I think as this becomes more common, they'll have a quicker test for it."

The state Health Department believes 80 percent of the people who have West Nile never realize it because their symptoms are so mild. 20 percent will be sick enough for treatment, but few are tested for West Nile - so many of them will have gone through it without knowing what they had.

The good thing is once you've had it you can't get it again - so one of those mild cases can help a person out in the long run.